Within a week, the Miami Marlins have traded Anibal Sanchez, Randy Choate, Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez for two young starting pitchers with minimal Major League experience and three additional prospects.
More trades will soon follow but the perception of another Marlins fire sale has already embedded itself in the minds of many baseball fans and media. This is not another fire sale. This is a summer cleaning.
This team is seven games below .500 and are eight games back from a playoff spot. Are they worse without Omar Infante, who was never the .300 hitter the Marlins thought they were getting from Atlanta? Are they worse without Randy Choate, who’s primary role is to retire one batter per appearance? Are they really worse without a .246 Hanley Ramirez? Are they really any worse without Anibal Sanchez, who indefinitely won’t sign a long-term deal with the club?
Just as I was about to shut my laptop and get some sleep for the evening, a tweet from Jon Morosi caught my eye that contained the words “BREAKING,” “Hanley,” and “Dodgers.” After realizing that you can literally catch anyone’s attention by starting your tweets with “breaking” in all caps, the Twitterverse learned that the Marlins had sent 3B Hanley Ramirez and reliever Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers for right-handed pitchers Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough.
Unsurprisingly, the news elicited quite the broad range of reactions on Twitter, although it has calmed down quite a bit now that we’ve learned more specific details of the trade.
I’ll get to talking about the newest Marlins, Nate Eovaldi and Scott McGough, in a second, but first let’s take a look at the biggest motivator in this deal from Miami’s perspective: money. The Dodgers will be taking on all of HanRam’s remaining salary (about $40 million over the next two seasons), which means that the Marlins have already cleared nearly $20 million off their payroll in the past week alone.
It’s possible that the Fish had the opportunity to get better players in return for Ramirez, but in all likelihood, having the option to erase him off their payroll for good was a much stronger incentive and when the Dodgers offered to pick up the tab, they pulled the trigger as fast as they could. For a guy that has posted a line of .246/.322/.430 this season, it isn’t as if his trade value was at an all-time high by any stretch of the imagination. What’s probably most fascinating is that the Marlins spent over $300 million in free agency last winter alone, yet they may have just begun the fastest turnaround to offload money that we’ve ever seen.
I think most of us have ‘that’ friend. The one that we have known for years, perhaps from your childhood, or if you’re my age (26), from high school. The one that, whenever you get together it quickly devolves into a trip down memory lane with one question.
“Remember the time…”
Something like, “Remember the time I wrote about Expectations and how the expectations for the leagues biggest off-season spenders was, and should be, very high?”
That was June 14th and the Miami Marlins were 32-30 and in the middle of a tough losing skid, though still very much in the thick of things. I mean, it was June 14th. Most teams were still in the thick of things.
Unbeknownst to you or I, the Marlins were actually in the middle of what would become an 8-18 month that would see the team fall from reasonable contenders to one of the NL Easts bottom dwellers.
In fact, since that article the Marlins have gone 14-21 and slipped to 11.5 games back of the division leading Washington Nationals.
Let’s try another.
“Remember the time I wrote about Perspective and how ‘On Pace’ is virtually meaningless in May?”
At the time, I was making the arguement that it made no sense to get worried about individual player performance in May.
Well, here’s the thing. It’s no longer May.
The Marlins have dealt Hanley Ramirez and Randy Choate to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Nate Eovaldi and “Scott McGough,” says our good friend over at FOX Sports, Jon Paul Morosi. The Dodgers will be paying all of the $31.5 million that Ramirez is owed over the next two years.
There indeed have been more than a few rumors of a potential Ramirez deal over the past few days, and well, that looks to have finally come to fruition. Ramirez has been a disaster over the past couple of seasons and his value has dropped as low as it probably ever has in his career, which is why I’m surprised that the deal took place now instead of, well, when and if his value ever grew. We knew that after the Marlins dealt Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante away at the beginning of the week that a few more trades could happen, but a Hanley deal was not one that I was truly expecting.
The Marlins seemed to have made a commitment to winning this past off-season when they signed Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes for almost $300 million, so this rebuilding phase that’s currently taking place makes some of those signings appear to be even more of a question mark. I suppose the hope, however, is that Jacob Turner and Eovaldi can help man a rotation that can — as the Marlins sure expect — compete for next year’s division crown.
The Marlins’ system has significantly improved since they drafted Christian Yelich and Jose Fernandez, as the two have easily slotted themselves among baseball’s best prospects, but the additions of Rob Brantly, Turner and now the aforementioned Eovaldi (even though he isn’t a prospect) make the young core on this team much more impressive a few years down.
Johnson, 28, has a 4.14 ERA with 7.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 119 2/3 innings this season and is making an annual salary of $13.75MM in 2012 and 2013.
The Blue Jays are 48-47 and are three games back in the Wild Card chase. Even after acquiring J.A. Happ, they are still looking for starting pitching that can be under club control past this season.
Trading Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante to Detroit was like a flare shot in the air spotted by playoff contenders everywhere. The Marlins will likely keep Johnson but can trade him if the right offer is presented to them.
The Marlins can send Josh Johnson to Toronto for a bounty of prospects and young third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Lawrie is currently hitting .280 with nine home runs and 12 stolen bases. His play is similar to that of 19 year-old outfielder Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, but doesn’t get as much attention because he is three years older.
Acquire him with prospects and the rebuilding phase of the revamping process will nearly be complete.
It is about time we saw some action from the Marlins this season. Too bad that action was not on the field. Yesterday, the Marlins, who spent a small fortune during the off-season in order to be contenders this year, sent Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to the Detroit Tigers for, well, let’s face it, Jacob Turner.
Oh yeah, as Dave mentioned here, this trade was historically significant because it marks the first time teams have traded their compensation picks. According to Peter Gammons, The Marlins obtain prospects Rob Brantly and Brian Flynn along with Turner. The Tigers will also now have the last pick in compensation round A (after the first round), while the Marlins will have the final pick in compensation round B (after the second round).
At 44-51 and 11.5 games out of first place, the Miami Marlins are shipping off expendable pieces to make room for what looks to be another run at free agency. Today they traded starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for three prospects.
In Triple-A Toledo, Jacob Turner was 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA and threw 40 strikeouts in 62 innings. He will be reporting to Triple-A New Orleans, which is in a different league. He will now be pitching in the Pacific Coast League instead of the International League where the Toledo Mud Hens play. He will see some time in the Majors in September at the latest.
Catcher Rob Brantly and pitcher Brian Flynn will report to Double-A Jacksonville. Flynn was drafted in the seventh round in last year’s draft out of Wichita State. Brantly appeared in this year’s Futures Game in Kansas City. Multiple scouting reports show that he is an offensive-minded catcher who makes contact, hits for average and doesn’t strike out much and his defense continues to improve and he does a good job of controlling the running game. This is something that the Marlins truly need at the catching position after years of Miguel Olivo, Matt Treanor, Mike Rabelo, John Baker and John Buck. Brantly will surely get the chance to be an every day catcher for the Marlins.
Donovan Solano could get a shot at second base. He’s been hitting.321 as a reserve infielder/pinch hitter so it’s it isn’t crazy to give him a shot. Also look for Emilo Bonifacio to return to the infield as their second baseman.
Wade LeBlanc will likely get his chance to be a part of the Marlins’ rotation. LeBlanc only gave up three runs in 20.2 spring innings and as a reliever this season he has yet to give a run.
As for the Detroit Tigers, their rotation is complete. Verlander, Porcello, Scherzer, Fister and now Sanchez have formed a very solid starting rotation and have filled a gaping hole in second base by inserting Omar infante (.287) in. The Chicago White Sox have better pitchers in their rotation but it will be hard to out-pitch the Tigers with their lineup.
Meanwhile in Miami, this trade is the first of many more to come. The Marlins are highly disappointed with their team and will look to jettison a few more underachievers and revamp their farm system. Then give free agency one more shot.
Like a horde of college football coaches storming to Penn State to salvage it’s remains, many contenders will be circling Marlins like vultures.
Having already decided that they couldn’t sign Anibal Sanchez long-term, the Marlins have dealt Sanchez along with Omar Infante to Detroit for a bundle of goods. According to several reporters, including MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, Miami will acquire Jacob Turner, Rob Brantly, Brian Flynn & a Tigers compensation pick for the veteran duo.
There’s a lot to like in this deal, even for both clubs as they each address seperate needs; the Tigers improve short term with a chance to have that excellent rotation journey to the World Series and the Marlins continue to stock a much-improved system, one that now features two of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball (Jose Fernandez & Jacob Turner).
With less than two weeks until July 31st, the Marlins have yet to fully determine their stance at the MLB trade deadline. As Buster Only reported (via twitter) on Monday, the team will enter “sell mode” if there is no immediate turnaround. To keep that from happening, and to keep the Marlins at least relevant in the playoff discussion, the team must play well in the coming stretch of games. Luckily, the schedule for the remaining part of July provides the Marlins with ample opportunity to get back into Wild Card contention.
The Marlins play both of the wild-card leaders, the Pirates and Braves, in three game sets. Right after those two match-ups, the Marlins will host the Padres, one of the worst teams in baseball this year. As if that isn’t enough, the team will then play the Braves again following the series with San Diego.
On Wednesday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the Marlins were talking to the Tigers about a deal for Infante. John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press wrote today about the need for the Tigers to acquire the 30 year-old second baseman. Tigers second basemen entered Wednesday hitting .196 with two homers and 24 RBIs. Infante is hitting .283 with eight homers, 33 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
However no one is mentioning what the Detroit Tigers have to offer for Infante. They’re not just going to get him from the Marlins for free.
If the Marlins were to make any deals this season it would be for the benefit of their 25-man roster in the now. Prospects without Major League experience will not cut it, but they might want someone young. Although he is 26-years of age, rookie outfielder Quintin Berry could be the guy that the Marlins go after. In 45 games this year, Berry has hit .292 and stolen 14 bases. He is similar to current Miami center fielder Emilio Bonifacio except Berry is actually an outfielder, not an infielder that was converted in order to get his bat and speed in the lineup.
If a trade between Infante and Berry were to take place, the Marlins can move Bonifacio to second base and with added speed in the lineup, the Marlins would be able to manufacture more runs.